Visit our website!

August 28, 2010

CARES featured in UK TV Hit!

In November 2009 Luke Gamble, Founder and Director of the Worldwide Veterinary Service, spent time in Iquitos filming for a new TV series airing in Great Britain. Luke Gamble's Vet Adventures returns to Sky1 for a second series.  Click to read Luke's blog, see behind the scenes photo's and visit the charities that are in the TV series.  The show airs on Wednesdays, 8pm on Sky1 and Sky1HD.

 Long-time readers may recall the blog written by "bad actress" Annie Cook during the filming of the series.  On Wednesday, September 1, 2010, the episode filmed in Peru featuring Amazon CARES will air in the United Kingdom!

You can find out more on the series, including behind the scenes photos, Lukes daily blog and the Vet Adventures promo video by visiting

Vet Adventures Promo Series 2 from Vet Adventures on Vimeo.

You can find out more on the series, including behind the scenes photos, Lukes daily blog and the Vet Adventures promo video by visiting

August 20, 2010

Humanitarians on Twitter to #FollowFriday

This week I don’t have to look far for inspiration for my #FollowFridays theme: Yesterday, August 19 was World Humanitarian Day.

World Humanitarian Day was established by the General Assembly of the UN in December 2008 and was first observed in August 2009. Humanitarians provide life-saving assistance to millions of people worldwide, placing their own lives at risk to help others in conflict zones and areas of natural hazards. Humanitarians provide support for different world challenges such as hunger, gender-based violence, refugees and displaced people, help for children, as well as clean water and access to sanitation.

It is my honor to present an incomplete list of those humanitarian individual / organizational Tweeters who serve others, inspiring us all.

@JosetteSheeran - Josette Sheeran is the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program. Likening rising food costs and the subsequent world hunger as a "silent tsunami," Ms. Sheeran has made news for both her sharp insights and her brand of pragmatic idealism. Her "front line reports" of the organization's global aid efforts are both entertaining and poignant: who among us couldn't smile at the image of Christina Aguilera singing "Happy Birthday" to a child in earthquake-ravaged Haiti?

@AvrilBenoit - Avril Benoît is a Canadian broadcaster who, after 20 years in journalism, left the CBC to become the Communications Director for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders - Canada). I see some parallels in her life to my own: we both turned our back on our decade-long careers to pursue other, more altruistic goals. Ms. Benoit's journalism instincts appear to have remained intact after her career change, as her tweets inform about current humanitarian issues and stories, such as ongoing Haiti relief and violence against aid workers in Afghanistan.

@gogvm - The Twitter home of Yank Barry, founder of Global Village Champions Foundation, an organization whose ambitious goal is to have no one in the world go hungry. Mr. Barry is another successful executive who saw great suffering in his business travels, and was determined to do something about it. He founded Global Village Champions Foundation as his philanthropic organization to combat world hunger, and serves to this day as its chairman and chief advocate. With the motto of "Doing Well by Doing Good," Mr. Barry's tweets report not only on the happenings within the Global Village organization, but also other humanitarian, environmental and conservation issues and even a little pop culture to add flavor.

@jeffpower - Jeff Power is a Humanitarian Aid Worker with Global Hope Network International. Some of his past good deeds include building teacher housing in Ethiopia and digging a reservoir in India, as well as aid trips to Darfur, Dubai, Somalia and Kenya. His blog, Pangeo, is three parts humanitarian journal and one part travelogue, with fascinating, very well-written entries about his work, the challenges each project entails, and, perhaps most touchingly, how hard it is to be away from his family on his long journeys.

@scottharrison - Once a very successful nightclub promoter in New York City, Mr. Harrison left the Big Apple to volunteer with a charity that provided medical care to the world's most poverty-stricken areas. The human misery he witnessed provided the impetus to found Charity : Water, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. His tweets are not just informative, they serve a purpose: one campaign promoted on Twitter encourages followers to "give up" their birthday, and in lieu of gifts, donations being made to this worthy cause. A true visionary, Mr. Harrison uses the same promotion abilities he used in his "past life" to raise money for Charity:Water with great results. He is truly an inspiration for all fundraising non-profits.

@witnessorg - WITNESS envisions a just, equitable world in which all individuals and communities are able to defend and uphold their human rights. Using video to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations, WITNESS empowers people to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice, promoting public engagement and policy change. WITNESS is an exceptionally active Twitter account, adding dozens of tweets a day, and is very responsive to its many fans and followers.

@wrcommission - Women's Refugee Commission is an advocate for laws, policies and programs to improve the lives and protect the rights of refugee and displaced women, children and youth. Its tweets are an excellent resource for finding well-written and informative blogs on many different humanitarian issues, from Pakistan floods to continuing Haiti relief efforts.

@DCSMS - Stop Modern Slavery has the goal of ending slavery through grassroots, community action. This non-profit's tweets offer many different opportunities for followers to not only learn about modern-day slavery, even in our modern society, but also promotes easy ways to help its cause.

@EndMalariaNow End Malaria Now is a global effort to save lives by helping families that are in desperate need to fight malaria, the leading cause of death in Africa. Its tweets are an eclectic mix of malaria prevention tips, links to scientific and scholarly articles about malaria, shout-outs to followers and even a quote or two!

@pwlmcadams - A Senior Education Specialist working for the NGO Equitas - International Centre for Human Rights Education, Mr. McAdams acts as a humanitarian watchdog, reporting on human rights issues throughout the world on his many daily tweets. (A thank you to Michelle Sullivan for bringing this worthy Tweeter to our attention!)

Thank you, humanitarians, for all you do. While at Amazon CARES our focus is on companion animals, we recognize that there can be no good home for a pet if in that home people suffer, and that we are all creatures of this earth, put here to help each other. We are very grateful for your efforts, idealism and the hope that you inspire!

Researched by Linda Schwefel

August 18, 2010

Who to Vote for in the Petties. 2 days left!

"You nominated, we counted, and now you vote for the best of the best pet bloggers in the DogTime Pet Blog Awards! Pet bloggers from all over the country will then celebrate the winners at the BlogPaws event in Colorado in September. Vote for your favorite blogs in each of the four voting categories!"

These are the instructions for the Pettie Awards!  I know I can be very wordy with my blogs.  In the interest if time and in hopes that you will trust my knowledge and research, I am going to recommend one blog from each category that deserves your vote.

Voting takes little time, does not require a lengthy registration process, and you can vote for each category once per day, so if you act now, vote today AND vote tomorrow!

Best Pet Blog:
Best Cause Blog:
Best Dog Blog:

I don't want to TELL you who to vote for. Follow your heart and conscience. But if you haven't had time to do the research, trust me.  Vote for the bloggers above.  They deserve your vote! Participating is a small effort, but an important one!! Without further fanfare, here are my recommendations (above). I know each of these terrific bloggers personally, and would not ask you to vote for a non-deserving candidate in the Petties 2010!

August 17, 2010

Volunteer Lodging Offers Creatures, Comfort

Here the day starts with the sun filtering through the screens, the sounds of insects and birds in the trees and the occasional dog bark. Breakfast is at the table with fresh fruit, juice, eggs and toast. The journey to work is a thirty minute speed boat ride along the river with the chance of a pink river dolphin to delay the trip rather than a broken down car that jams the motorway.

Dr. Annie Cook, CARES Volunteer

Volunteers who stay at the Cabo Lopez CARES facility are often surprised at the amenities and charms of the jungle lodging. With electricity from a generator, indoor bathroom, filtered water from the tap, multiple bedrooms and a kitchen, the volunteer lodge is far from the “roughing it” one might expect from the remote area.

However, amid the prosaic comforts of a warm meal and a soft bed after the end of a long day, you cannot escape the otherworldliness of the jungle outside. Abutting a forest, you are continually reminded of the wildness of your surroundings: from the constant insect drone, the riotous cacophony of jungle bird life, and the monkeys that forage in the trees on the grounds, the Cabo Lopez site is a haven in the middle of nature at its most exotic and primordial.

In addition to the comfortable accommodations, volunteers are treated to delicious, fresh meals prepared on site by Marlene, CARES’ remarkable chef/laundress/caretaker. As Dr. Jo Langford reported, “Marlene was our heroine at Cabo Lopez who cooked, did our laundry and generally cleaned up after us. Dinner would always be ready upon our return “home” and she never ceased to amaze with a variety of dishes, fresh juices and fruit.”

Dr. Alex Belch, a veterinarian volunteer, stayed in Cabo Lopez during the dry season, and so traveled by land rather than by boat from Iquitos. "Our jungle home was an enjoyable 20 minute ride from the centre of Iquitos, passing through a couple of local villages on the way. The house was very comfortable with sofas, tv and a kitchen where Marlany the housekeeper was always on hand with a fresh jungle fruit juice. Our room had bunkbed and shower and certainly had no trouble sleeping after a bust day volunteering for AmazonCares!"

Veterinarian and veterinarian technician volunteers are always high in demand, as are carpenters or construction experts to aid in the creation and repair of shelter facilities. Lay volunteers are also welcome to aid in socializing some of the shelter pets.

If you are interested in volunteering in Iquitos and/or Cabo Lopez, wish to gather more information about Amazon CARES and its work, or even make a donation to this non-profit organization, please visit our website at

Written by CARES Volunteer Linda Schwefel

The North Face Logo

August 13, 2010

FollowFridays for August 13th

Did you read my prior blog about my new "Terms of Service" regarding #followfridays, etc.  If not, please review and (mentally) accept the terms and conditions there (this is a joke, but the blog entry is real).

Here are some genuine and great Tweeters to #FollowFriday.  I have tried to keep the list diverse and have not filled it with my "best friends."  Would love your comments and suggestions for next week's Follow Friday list!

Here are #FollowFriday recommendations for the week!!

I met George at the first BlogPaws.  I really loved him and his typist.  I even mentioned his business card as being my favorite that I collected at BlogPaws!  His bio states "Sir George the Duck. I am the official House of the Mostly Black Cats duckie. I am not a black cat. I own the cats."  Check out his website at From the website I learned he is attending in Atlanta.  I only just arrived from Peru but I am going to try to hightail it to Atlanta to check it out!  Finally, to all reading this, George's typist has a very ill brother, so please pray for him.

@shinseidesigns is the "Maker of shiny things, pop-culture junkie, pragmatically idealistic existentialist."  So that is her official bio, but c'mon, where's the link to your website so we can see these shiny things!!  Shinsheidesigns has been a loyal supporter of Amazon CARES for a long time.  Thank you for the frequent ReTweets and your support of my new "Terms of Service" for #followfridays (LOL).   One thing I can say, is that this great person DESERVES more followers, so FOLLOW her today!!

Felissa's bio states "Love warm weather Mini Coopers and dogs. I have lived in NY, Berlin, and Hong Kong. I write the blog Excited to get to know you!"   Why you should follow her?  Well, I love dogs and mini-coopers too!  Her Two Cavaliers blog is adorable and hugely popular.  In fact (hope I won't be sued for copyright infringement), I just started experimenting with give-aways on this blog in response to the enormous success of The Two Little Cavaliers Blog!

@MarkDTN8 He is is not a person I know very well, but I want to highlight many different interesting tweeters.  I like Mark because he is an huge animal advocate and tweets and re-tweets many animal related issues.  His bio:  "VP of Creative Services for LendingTree. Native Californian. Animal Advocate. Dog Lover. Sugar Pimp. Movie Goer. Partnered for 20 Years. Love is the Drug."  Follow him because he has a great profile picture ;), is a pseudo-corporate guy who doesn't appear to be a clone, is a man that admits to loving sugar, loves movies (like me), and obviously understands commitment (Congrats in 20 years!).
I hope he comments and tells me some of his fave films!

@blackcatrescue Well, I stole this great Follow Friday idea from @MarkDTN8!  He mentioned, and I agree, that today, Friday the 13th, is a great day to acknowledge the great work of @BlackCatRescue.  "Did you know that black cats are only half as likely to get adopted as cats of other colors? We're a no-kill 501(c)3 rescue located in Boston." according to their bio.  Check out their site at

  Yvonne DiVita writes one of my favorite blogs  She is also one of the genius founders of the BlogPaws Conferences.  How does she keep up with it all?  Follow her and you will instantly have more energy.  Or at least some great new ideas to ponder.  Is it JUST a coincidence that her blog for today is entitled "Is Social Media Necessary"  In my opinion, Amazon CARES has been rewarded for our Social Media efforts, but, I am now instituting a new policy toward the frequent shout-outs on Twitter, so maybe I have a bit of rogue in me.

I did not intend to include @okmedia on a follow list so soon.  But they touched my heart with a tweet!  It states "We are so excited about the new site we're building for @AmazonCares. It rocks and so does this organization that helps animals in Peru!"  So the cat's out of the bag.  Yes, Oklahoma Media Group is designing an AWESOME new website for CARES.  After years of my homemade attempts (though I must give kudos to @DiosaComm for their help with social media pages and strategy).  How did I choose them?  Emily Garman (@Thesocialanimal) started out as a volunteer for CARES!

My New #FollowFriday TOS

I have read many blog articles over the last year about Twitter and #followfriday.  Animal related Tweeters are also aware of #meowmonday, #woofwednesday and don't forget the myriad of other hashtags related to making a "shout-out" to friends/followers and sometimes, complete strangers.

Of course I want to greet and acknowledge my friends, but, let's face it, hasn't it become a bit cumbersome.  An obligation?  I spent two months in South America and finally returned to regular Internet access.  I felt guilty for all the people I didn't acknowledge during my time away.  Did many of them notice?  I would love to hear your comments.

We are pretty busy people.  How much time do you spend on these special hashtag days?  Again, would love your comments.

So, I am going to try an experiment and see what happens to my follower count and my interaction with Tweeters, who I dearly love (Twitter is my fave social networking tool).

I will attempt to compile a short list of people to #followfriday each week.  This is more than a list.  It is a list of who, what and WHY.  No promises on the weekly list, but I plan to try.

In early 2010 I compiled several "Favorite Twitter Lists" and the link is a re-cap.  So, as much as I LOVE these people, I will not highlight them on my new Twitter Lists.

Now to work on my next blog, in which I will presenting my Twitter #FollowFriday list for Friday, August 13, 2010.  Stay Tuned. 

Related Blogs: 

August 10, 2010

Give-Away! Handmade Tapestry (Peru)

 New Give-Away!  This tapestry hand embroidered by the Shipibo Indians of Peru´s Amazon Region!

Learn how to enter!  Contest ends August 30 at 5 PM EST.

I love these artisan fabrics, which require HAND-WASHING.  Each tapestry is one-of-a-kind.  This design is bordered by a dark brown fabric.  I have used these as thick table runers, but my favorite use for them is to make them into a comfy and unique decorative pillow, or as a conversation starting wall hanging!


More about the Shipibo Indians:

The Shipibo Indians reside at the southwestern edge of the vast Amazon Basin in Peru. Shipibo Indians are River Indians living along the banks and tributaries of the Amazon River. The Shipibo people are primarily artisns, hunters, and fishermen and some practice slash-and-burn agriculture. Primary tools are machetes and spears. Virtually none of the villages have electricity. A small number of Shipibo people live in Iquitos where they make and sell their uniquely patterned art and craft.

The Shipibo-Conibo consist of around 35,000 people living in three to four hundred villages located north and south of the town of Pucallpa on the Ucayali River, which connects Cuzco to the Brazilian Amazon. All of the villages use barter for trade, but their proximity to the burgeoning town of Pucallpa makes it inevitable that the people will soon be drawn into modern trade and exploitation.

They speak a language of the Panoan family, though some of them are starting to learn Spanish. Despite 300 years of sporadic contact with white or mestizo civilization, and massive conversion to Christianity in the 1950’s and 60’s the Shipibo-Conibos maintain a strong identity and retain their ancient ways. They are known for their intricate designs on their pottery and their bright clothing.

The Shipibo are well known for their distinctive pottery and textiles. In their culture the designs they use are traditionally copied from the skin of the Giant Anaconda or the heavens, such as the Southern Cross. Many other designs were given to them by their culture hero Incan ancestors. Their cotton cloth is hand painted in traditional designs. The cloth is worn as a wrap around loin cloth by the women of the tribe as well as being used for other functions.

(Text from the Peruvian Amazon Indian Institute)